Study: Hawaii job-seekers face low unemployment rate, but soaring cost of living

Study: Hawaii job-seekers face low unemployment rate, but soaring cost of living
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Hawaii graduates start to enter the job market, it might be easy for them to find a job but scoring one that covers the rent will be a bigger challenge.

A new study shows that Hawaii ranks dead last for household income after factoring in the state's cost of living.

The 2015 Census estimated that an average household in Hawaii earned just above $80,000.

Those numbers would look great, if it didn't mean turning over a significant portion of that paycheck for housing.

The WalletHub study ranked the best and worst states for jobs.

Hawaii ranked 38th overall, with a low unemployment rate that was balanced against incomes that didn't keep up with the cost of living.

Over a dozen economic experts analyzed and ranked each state based on two dimensions, job market and economic environment.

The first category covered a wide range of data from the unemployment rate to job satisfaction. Hawaii scored quite well, showing an economy that's not just growing but thriving.

Economic environment is where the state falls short, the study concluded. In this category, researchers weighed topics like annual income and taxation based on the state's cost of living.

Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii's Economic Research Organization, said this trend is nothing new for the state.

"As far as I can remember, you don't get compensated for living in Hawaii," Bonham said.

What's new in recent years is the significantly lower unemployment rate. Hawaii ranks second nationally for its unemployment rate, which is just 2.7 percent, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bonham said the lower employment rate is the result of a nearly eight-year recovery since the recession.

It's good news for those entering Hawaii's job market.

"The numbers mean that if you have the skills and are out looking for work, you have a much better chance than three years ago," Bonham said.

Source: WalletHub

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